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ENV East Doctoral Training Partnership


Applications to the EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership are now closed.

Below you can browse some of the PhD projects we have previously funded; if you would like to be informed when applications open, or if you have any questions about EnvEast and our application process, please email us.

Projects previously funded by EnvEast


Societal recovery and adaptation following volcanic eruptions

Project description

The problem

Volcanic eruptions can bring about the loss of lives, property, livelihoods and damage to the physical infrastructure and environment. Yet while there is a relatively rich literature on the impacts of eruptions, current research lacks emphasis in understanding short and long-term recovery and adaptation processes in communities and monitoring agencies affected by volcanic eruptions. Recovery and adaptation is vitally important as it leads to increased preparedness and survival strategies in volcanic environments. There exists a need for developing tools for assessing recovery and adaptation after eruptions in order to take a more systematic approach for tracking lessons learned.

Key questions to be addressed are:

  • What actually is recovery? Do affected communities ever return to pre-eruption normality, or is there always some transformation or adaptation?
  • What social and economic parameters influence recovery? Do members of a community recover equally? If not, what factors are involved, for example, ethnicity/class/age/gender?
  • What are the differences in speed and extent of recovery when eruptions are rapid-onset or anticipated, short-lived or long-lived, small or large?
  • What does recovery of the volcano monitoring network, governance, and other institutions look like? Are there marked step-changes (due to injection of funds post-eruption), or are improvements more gradual? Is recovery of affected communities influenced by relationships with these institutions?

The research

This research will take a longitudinal examination of several case studies where entire communities have been impacted by volcanic eruptions. During the first 6-12 months of the project, the student will conduct a desk-based study to research societal impacts from numerous well-documented volcanic eruptions. This exploratory period will conclude in the identification of possible case studies to become the focus of the research. During field seasons, the student will be required to gather qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. surveys, interviews, observations), communicating with those affected by volcanic activity (i.e. communities and scientists at volcano observatories). The outcome of the project will be: a) to identify the parameters that influence recovery and adaptation of communities’ post-eruption; b) to develop an assessment tool to help measure and/or evaluate recovery and adaptation, and c) to develop a method to incorporate this knowledge into volcanic risk and multi-risk assessments.

  • Start date 1 October 2014